If you have chosen a forensic science career, gear up for some great challenges. This is a career that is closely allied to crime and punishment, justice and law, human nature and its dark secrets. More scientifically, it is a vital arm of the legal investigative system.
For specialization, there are six options of practice in this profession:
Medical Examiner: This job requires nerves, for you have to deal with dead bodies all the time. The best paid in forensic science that requires a medical degree. Chemistry or biology at the undergraduate level is must. Crime detection and investigation as one of your electives can be an added advantage.
Crime Laboratory Analyst: This option is neater, assures good pay and better work hours. To specialize in this job, you must take off with a bachelor's degree in a natural science. Chemistry major is ideal.
If you want to go for DNA testing, then biology with genetics and biochemistry is necessary. For specialization on trace evidence examination, you need a chemistry degree with electives from optical mineralogy, microbiology, botany and textile courses. The crime detection and investigation course is however a mandatory elective.
Crime Scene Examiner: Though a part of the elite crime-cracking team, this is a messy job. Nevertheless, the thrill makes up for it. You require a bachelor's degree either in a natural science with stress on law enforcement and crime scene processing or a criminal justice degree with stress on natural science. Knowledge in forensic archeology is an advantage. You could also go for psychological profiling that involves a combination of crime scene investigation and psychology.
Academic assistance - psychologist, social scientist and statistician: These career options could land you a part-time investigative job. Currently there are full-time careers for psychological profilers.
Agencies often look for a combination of an investigator, crime scene analyst and psychologist in a single recruit. To qualify, you would need a double major in psychology and criminal justice and expertise as an investigator as well. Technical assistance such as computer analysis, polygraph and composite drawing also forms a part of this career.
Forensic Engineer: This occupation involves traffic accidents, fire investigations, and various unlawful incidents of injury. This career is similar to that of a crime scene examiner but you would deal less with dead bodies, have better work hours and better salary. The pay is higher because the post requires an engineering degree (go for either electrical, mechanical, civil, materials or traffic).
All this and much more is about the prospects of the most exciting professions for those who value justice and the rule of law. However, before you settle for a forensic science career, it is vital to get information about the tougher aspects of the job and no one can guide you better than a veteran.